Is your budget realistic?
Or are you living in a fantasy world?
Everyone wants to get work done, and everyone wants a good deal. No one likes to feel like they are being ripped off, on either side of the transaction. No one wants to overpay or be underpaid, so finding the right balance is important. I see a lot of this on both sides of the fence: hearing business associates ramble on about how expensive a supplier is, and industry friends complain to no end about how unreasonable clients can be. On some occasions, I do hear about the happy medium that everyone is getting paid their fairly and the client is very happy with the work, but recently that has become a rare gem.
As an agency, we are very communicative about the scope and the costs involved from the first conversation. It’s important for everyone involved to understand this, along with any expectations, so that the project can be properly managed and no one is surprised by an invoice at any point, or feeling left deflated because they put so much work into something that does not seem worth it.
Hopefully, this blog can help you make a more educated decision when hiring a creative supplier or agency for your next project.
Understand the scope of your request
Before you jump into the chaos, try to understand the scope of what you need. If you’re completely out of your element, hire a professional to draft a scope or a strategy based on your current situation and where you’d like to be. Then get another person to verify that this strategy or scope is along the right lines. Always get a second opinion if you don’t know yourself or have been out of the industry for a while. This scope will help you understand how much work is really involved, and appreciate the cost structure involved.
Interview your options
Speak with a few suppliers before you make a decision. Take a good long look at their portfolio work and ask a friend or colleague for advice if needed. Speak with them and hear them out as well. You will find some creatives are very good, but slow and scatty, or very quick but lower quality. You should look for someone somewhere in the middle… The gem in the rough who has the talent, is good with time and creatively flexible enough to work with your brand and requests.
Key point to remember when looking at portfolios: you are looking at the final, client approved work. Most of it is probably not even close to the original idea they had, so be cautious with how your judge their output.
Run a few trials
Trying a new creative supplier is the best way of gauging whether they are right fit. Sometimes their portfolio just cannot tell you whether they will be able to get it right on target for your brand. Some of the most outrageous creatives are capable of the most mellow creative work.
You get what you pay for
There is a Chinese proverb I learned as a kid: cheap things no good, and good things no cheap. With a lot of creative work, the good guys are not cheap, but sometimes, neither are the crap guys either. (Yes there are a lot of crap suppliers out there producing sub-par work and tarnishing the industry – we all know this, so best not to get all politically correct about it.)
Creative work pricing is unregulated, so it does vary from supplier to supplier, but you will find high street agencies cost a lot more simply because they have a London office, not necessarily because they are more experienced. But a rule of thumb is if a creative has a decade of experience working with different industries and has nice variety in their portfolio, they are usually worth the sticker price. Take them for a test drive and see how they perform under pressure. You might pay more than someone less experienced but the quality should speak for itself, and you’ll benefit in other ways as well, such as deadlines being met, consistency in quality, responsive, availability and good communication.
How much for advertising?!
I thought I’d chuck this one in here as we’re discussing budgets. Guys, please understand that a couple hundred quid for Facebook advertising is going to do nothing for your ROI. Spend that money on better creative until you can afford a healthier advertising budget. While I entirely get that it’s better to have something than nothing, and I agree with running ads in the background all the time, you really should not expect a massive return on such a small investment. Social media advertising is a pay-to-play numbers game. The more you spend, the more people see it, the more likely they are to convert. Now, if you reduce that spend, you’ll see that conversion figure dwindle as well, and sometimes altogether disappear. Think of it like this: you’re fighting for attention in a very noisy room, and money is your volume; the more you spend, the louder you can become, the more people notice you, and the more likely someone will focus on you and listen to what you have to say. Small budgets mean small voices that get lost in a crowd.
I hope this editorial clears up a lot of questions around budgets for your projects. If you have any questions, feel free to email or DM me on Linkedin. I will try to guide as many people as possible and help them make the right decision, even if it’s not TILT! Sometimes, we’re just not the right fit for a business and that’s entirely okay.
Stay safe kids, until the next editorial rant 🤣
About TILT Creative Agency
TILT Creative is a UK based creative agency specialising in content creation and managed solutions for blogs, websites, branding and social media. Désiré, the chief writer, artist and strategist behind TILT Creative Agency, has worked with a variety of clients (from startups to luxury brands) across all kinds of industries (such as automotive, beverage, construction, oil and gas, tourism, and health and safety) across the United Kingdom, Dubai and the Caribbean.
TILT Creative’s core philosophy is to change the perspective, or ‘tilt’ it. How can you TILT your business? Could it be a brand refresh, a better experience on your website, or perhaps a stronger blog strategy? Maybe writing a book on your expertise could skyrocket your company’s credibility and revenue?
Désiré’s work quality stems from her ability to infuse your brand’s story with the essence of abstract creativity, and disseminate a unique experience to your customers on an individual level, while meeting your business’ objectives. Her comprehensive research process, attention to detail, and pursuit of perfection embellishes every piece of her work: writing and design. The results are always favourable.